Former Gunner unimpressed with Arsenal defence despite Europa League win

Martin Keown rips into the Arsenal defence despite 3-2 win over Portuguese side Vitoria.

It’s hard for Arsenal not to be in the news for the wrong reasons nowadays. Even when they win a game as they did against Vitoria last night.

The Gunners came from two goals down to beat the stubborn visitors 3-2 at the Emirates. One of the highlights of the game was a brace of goals via freekicks from Nicolas Pepe.

While the Ivorian was trending for the right reason as he seems to finally be coming to grips with life at Arsenal, there were some criticisms for the team as well.

Arsenal was sloppy in defence allowing the visitors to strike twice and Keown was far from impressed.

The former defender put the positives aside and blasted the Arsenal defending in the game after former Tottenham youngster, Marcus Edwards got the better of Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney to fire his side into the lead.

Maitland-Niles was also responsible for the second goal as his heavy touch allowed Davison to fire the shot that Bruno Duarte would score the rebound for the second goal.

Maitland-Niles feeling sorry for himself.

“Well [Hector] Bellerin’s playing in his preferred position, [Calum] Chambers has taken his first-team berth in the Premier League,” Keown said.

“It looked like he was feeling sorry for himself and there’s no time for that as a professional footballer. Really poor touch and they’re away for the second goal. It’s a wonderful finish but Maitland-Niles is all at sea.

“He should receive that ball on his back foot, he turns into trouble, and that’s laziness, sloppiness. The player has got great ability but he’s wasting his talent at the moment.”

“You need to be right mentally,” he added. “You’re the second-string XI, you’re watching the first-team play, when you play you can make your mark. I didn’t see the hunger.

“[For the first goal] I thought Holding could have gone across, Tierney’s the wrong side, no one getting back in midfield. Far too easy and that will worry the manager.

“It’s not complacency, it’s a lack of hunger. You’re there to make your mark at a football club, you want to make it difficult for the manager when he comes to select the team for the weekend and nobody at the moment is doing enough.”

Keown is not far wrong and the win last night only masks the ongoing problems at the back.


  1. Only bit I can sympathise with is KT being caught on the wrong side – it was a poor pass to him on the break that gave away position and caught him out of position, he raced back and then couldn’t quite get ahead of his man and got muscled to the outside. Had a midfielder gone across or Holding been quicker getting across he could have peeled away to get the right side of his man, like he eventually did just a fraction too late to intercept the next pass that led to the goal.

    I feel the actual defenders (Laca too for that matter) were not quite up to match fitness and just need to get some more minutes now to blow the cobwebs away, the main problem imo was AMN and Willock letting everyone down in the midfield.

      1. I wouldn’t say he was getting skinned all night, but yes he was beaten a few times, more from being rusty than anything else imo – but I have seen a lot of the lad so have plenty to compare that performance to and know he can do much better

  2. The ex-professional footballers like Keown always give us great insights

    The young footballers can improve themselves if they are willing to listen to the pundits’ criticisms

    Unfortunately some are blinded by their celebrity status, money, youth and arrogance

  3. Keown, Adams, Campbell were great defenders and I’m happy to listen to their opinions.

    TBH with Mustafi in the back 4 my hopes weren’t that high lol

    But the other 3 defenders were rusty too

    Still, Pepe and Martinelli (Guendouzi too) helped us get 3 points which is the main thing

    1. @Innit
      To be fair to Mustafi, and he was doin clean up for the rusty guys. And doin a good job at that… Can’t blame him for this debacle.

        1. 👍 Mustafi is obviously fighting for his place, to good effect.
          What Arsenal would give for a Martin Keown and what would he be worth in the current CB market?

  4. ‘Martin Keown rips into Arsenal defence despite 1-0 win over Vitoria’ eh?? Did I miss something??

    So on news now it says Palace stand in the way of us maintaining a 17 year old record, which is.. not losing a home game in the month of October! Well surely that’s bloody jinxed it now 😆

    1. I missed something else Sue, he didn’t mention Ozil once. Your hero (and mine) Wrighty & Bergkamp were killing themselves about how easy it was to wind up Keown in training and how angry he used to get. He hasn’t changed!!

        1. Wrighty’s interview with Dennis was excellent, full of laughs and super entertaining. Loved every minute of it especially at the end when he told Dennis ” I love you man” and then coaxed an embarrassed Dennis to say the same to him and then cracked up laughing. Shame we don’t have characters like him at our club, they are all too serious and boring now. Anyway they can’t take those memories away from us, we were the lucky ones. I was at Highbury when Wrighty broke Cliff Bastin’s record, it’s still as clear as day!!! Have a good weekend, I’m looking forward to the Rugby!!!

          1. I just rembered something. Keown threatened to deck Jake Humphrey on BT Sport last season after he wound him up over something. And he was serious!!

          2. I totally agree, Andrew. I miss these characters.. brilliant, on and off the pitch.
            Lucky you, I saw it on the tv 😂 I don’t know if you watch it, but Wrighty is supposed to be going on I’m a celebrity.. that will be tv gold!!
            Thanks, you too! Ooh the rugby – will they do it? Going to be close…
            Haha Keown really needs to take a chill pill 😂😂

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